The ESV – A Bible Translation for Everyone?

The ESV – A Bible Translation for Everyone? July 10, 2005

In January 2008, the following post was identified as the 3rd all-time most popular post with readers of this blog. The 4th most-read post was one in a series of posts cataloguing an online debate about baptism and church membership among theological heavyweights, including John Piper, Sam Storms, Wayne Grudem, and Mark Dever, among others.

This third-ranked post represents the first in my series of interviews with Christian leaders. I had no idea back in 2005 where the blogging journey would lead me. An exclusive offer to interview the translators of what was then a little-known, new, apparently niche-appeal translation was simply too good to turn down. The folks at Crossway were kind enough to offer me this amazing opportunity, which I grabbed with both hands!

For awhile, my blog was entirely devoted to the ESV. At the time, some people probably thought I’d never talk about anything else! They were wrong, of course, because although I often do go on and on about a subject for quite awhile, eventually the subject changes as the weeks roll into months and then years!


This post is the final one in an extended series I have run on the English Standard Version of the Bible. The opportunity to interview the ESV translators has been great. We have one more answer to share on a video clip, and at the end of the post I will list links for all my previous posts on the ESV (including some that weren’t directly to do with the interview).

I hope this series of posts will continue to be of use to others, so if you have enjoyed them please do consider linking to this post on your own blog.

If you want to know more about the ESV version of the Bible, these interview posts should be helpful to you. There is also a great ESV Blog which is run by the publishers.

If these posts have prompted you to buy yourself a new Bible, do let me know by e-mailing me at The choice of Bible translations is a very personal thing, and most serious Bible students will own more than one version. Comparing and contrasting differing translations of a passage is very helpful in trying to understand what the Bible means.

I hope that even if you do not decide to use the ESV as your primary Bible translation, you will at least look at it from time-to-time to compare it to your current favorite. It is available to read for free online, and can be bought online from Crossway or Amazon.

The Final Question
To what extent was the translation of the ESV Bible one consciously assisted by prayer and the Holy Spirit? How conscious of his work in illuminating and guiding our understanding of God’s Word were you in working together on this translation?

Watch J. I. Packer respond (Windows Media).

I may say, we did make worship basic to what we were doing and started each day with a reading of Scripture, a word or two of application, and prayer together. And we thought that important. We wanted the blessing of God on what we were doing, and we were sensitive not to follow a procedure which would, in fact, leave God out of what we were doing.


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